SILCHAR, March 26 - After a prolonged wait, people of Silchar witnessed the opening of the first-ever Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK) on Saturday on the premises of the Senior Superintendent of Post Office Cachar.
In the words of John Mai, the Regional Passport Officer, this is the first and only POPSK in the North East so far.
The Seva Kendra was ceremoniously inaugurated by PWD Minister Parimal Suklabaidya in the presence of Deputy Speaker of the Assam Assembly and Silchar MLA Dilip Kumar Paul, Silchar MP Susmita Dev, former Union Minister Kabindra Purakayastha and DCs of Cachar and Hailakandi.
As many as five applicants had their biometric tests done on the opening day of the office. According to sources, the affairs of the Seva Kendra will be carried out on a camp mode and after three months the office will gain its full-fledged status. In all, 80 applicants can undergo the verification process on working days, a source said. It may be mentioned that south Assam region ranks third in terms of applications made for procuring passports.
Speaking on the occasion, the PWD Minister said �the Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has yet again proved how to translate promises into performances. Apparently, the opening of a passport Seva Kendra might not be a major thing. But this is a major addition to achieve development. People of Barak Valley willing to apply for a passport can breathe easy now.� He thanked the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for taking proactive steps in setting up this office here.
Recollecting the bygone days when agents made hay in the name of facilitating the passport applicants, Deputy Speaker Dilip Paul said that the Government is determined to put an end to such practices.
Expressing happiness on achieving this historical milestone, Silchar MP Susmita Dev urged the POPSK officials to extend facilities to citizens who are differently-abled during their biometric tests and paper verification. �I thank the External Affairs Minister to give us a Passport Seva Kendra which is of great significance to the people of the State which is battling with the issue of doubtful voters,� Susmita said.
Terming this to be a red letter day for the people of the district and Barak Valley at large, Cachar Deputy Commissioner S Vishwanathan said in the two previous camps held earlier, as many as 710 applications were verified from here. On the other hand, the Deputy Commissioner informed that the Government will soon start an anti-graft drive �Debo Na Nebo Na� to put a check on corrupt practices.
Former Union Minister Kabindra Purakayastha, Deputy Commissioner of Hailakandi and SSPO Cachar H Yimchunger also spoke on the occasion. Assistant Passport Officer Jaydeep Chakraborty subsequently delivered the votes of thanks.